Microsoft gambles users will tire of Google

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Microsoft (MSFT) will begin to kick the tires on its new search engine. According toThe Wall Street Journal, "Microsoft Corp. has begun testing a revamped version of its internet search service, dubbed Kumo.com, as the software giant tries to improve its third-place position in the online search market." Of course, Redmond says that it has built a better mouse trap and that results will be more relevant to users than those of other search products.

Microsoft's success with the product may be largely out of its hands. It has 10 percent of the U.S. search market, by most estimates. Google (GOOG) has close to 60 percent. Microsoft's best chance of picking up ground may not be better technology. It may be based on whether people are tiring of using Google.

Google has had the same basic interface for several years. Its homepage is used to launch other products. Many of these new products have been withdrawn from the market. Google is no longer a one-stop shop for internet tools.

Google is not garnering share at a rapid rate as it was two years ago. The fact that consumers are willing to use other search engines at all is telling. Some people may begin to feel that Google is losing it innovative edge and that its search results are not improving at the rate at which they once were.

Microsoft may have a modest chance of getting new search customers.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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